There were no waves, so we got all the puzzles at the beginning. I guess that has its advantages and its disadvantages. It’s somewhat daunting to have so many puzzles to decipher. On the other hand, you’re almost never at a loss for something to do. The biggest problem is that it lets some teams finish in three hours!
One upside from last year was that even though the requirements stated Silverlight 3, we didn’t really need it. License issues aside, the Moonlight 3 preview is just too crashy to be useful as far as I can tell. For some reason, they got rid of the date&time of last submission, which I found nice before. They did manage to reduce the website issues, even while adding auto-refresh to many pages. It wasn’t perfect, but definitely better than last year (though it could be because they actually gave us multiple copies of each puzzle again).
But the best part this year is that we actually solved the metapuzzle. Nowhere near first, but maybe about two hours before the end. Then we even finished all the rest, too! It’s too bad they don’t show the time, because we really did solve the last one at exactly 11PM, the absolute end of the challenge.
I don’t know if this was different from last year, but once you solved the metapuzzle, any further solves didn’t seem to count for anything. Since the metapuzzle is the “clincher”, I guess that makes sense. So there we are, eighth at UT, and 96th overall. Moving up from last year!